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Pig-borne disease 'effectively under control'
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-22 06:01

Chinese authorities announced yesterday that the outbreak caused by the pig-borne bacterium Streptococcus suis in Sichuan Province is "effectively under control" as no new human cases of infection have been reported since August 4.

Pig-borne disease 'effectively under control'
Farmers load a pig onto a truck to be taken to a quarantine centre in Ziyang on July 31, 2005. [AFP]
By noon on Saturday, 204 cases had been reported in 195 villages in 12 cities of Southwest China's Sichuan, the Ministry of Health said in an evaluation report yesterday.

Since the disease was found in humans about two months ago, the bacterium has killed 38 people. At the moment 20 patients are still in hospital, all are said to be in a stable condition. A total of 146 others have been released.

The outbreak reached its peak late last month and has so far killed 647 swine in 149 villages. No new cases of animal infection were found for 13 days until August 20, the report said.

By Saturday, about 10 million pigs belonging to around 3 million rural families in Sichuan had been inoculated against the disease, with the inoculation rate reaching 73 per cent.

But the ministry could not rule out the possibility that sporadic cases would arise in hot and humid conditions in the future, even though "an outbreak is not likely to occur over large areas."

According to the report, Streptococcus suis, listed by China as a Class B infectious animal disease, was a classification used for pigs in illness between 1976 and 1982 in Sichuan's Ziyang and Neijiang, where the recent outbreak was initially reported.

In recent years it has also appeared in a number of countries in Europe, America and Asia, and was once found in South China's Guangdong and East China's Jiangsu Provinces.

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